Celtics Trade Rumors: Veteran Forward Potentially Available

Damian Lillard's trade to Celtics won't take long, says B/R

Getty Celtics' president of basketball operations Brad Stevens.

The backup power forward position has been an area of weakness for the Boston Celtics in recent seasons.

While the emergence of Grant Williams as a reliable three-and-d option off the bench has gone some way to easing the lack of depth at the four, it’s clear the Celtics could use an additional reinforcement.

Both Jabari Parker and Juhanco Hernangomez continue to warm the bench due to their limitations on the defensive side of the floor, meaning we only see these two role players in garbage time or when an injury has forced Ime Udoka’s hand.

Boston has adopted a two-big lineup this year, where both the power forward and center have considerable size. Luckily, Al Horford’s versatility has ensured the Celtics don’t lose any floor spacing on offense. In contrast, his defensive IQ has seen the veteran big-man become one of the most defensively impactful players on the roster.

But should Horford or Williams sustain an injury and Grant Williams moves from the bench into the starting lineup, the second unit’s power forward position becomes an area of weakness for opposing teams to attack.

The Celtics have multiple players on short-term deals, along with controlling all of their own future draft picks, so should they wish to strike a deal to add some additional strength to their bench rotation, they’re perfectly poised to do so.

Spurs Veteran Wing Could be Available

One potentially available player is Thaddeus Young, who has been linked with the Celtics in the past and is currently struggling for game time with the San Antonio Spurs. Young found himself heading to Texas during the off-season as part of the trade that saw DeMar DeRozan join up with Lonzo Ball and the Chicago Bulls.

Speaking on The Alex Kennedy Podcast, Young told of how his current situation in San Antonio isn’t working out for him. “Right now, this situation is not ideal for me,” Young told Alex Kennedy, “I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve had to settle for 4 and 6 minutes a game.”

It’s not that Young isn’t talented enough to provide the Spurs with impactful play off the bench. It’s more that the franchise is at the beginning of a rebuild, meaning they need to afford as much playing time to their younger prospects as possible.

Furthermore, Young isn’t being totally frozen out by Spurs head coach Greg Popovich. The veteran forward has still participated in 18 of the team’s 21 games this season; he’s just not getting the minutes he’s used to getting or that his talent deserves.

“At the end of the day, I understand where this franchise is going, and I understand what’s happening — the young guys have to play. Whatever happens, happens,” Young said when discussing his limited role within the Spurs rotation this season.

Despite his limited court time this season, Young is still averaging 6.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game in 15.5 minutes of playing time per night, per Basketball-Reference.

The Celtics Have Limitations in the Trade Market

While the Celtics would be a stronger team for adding Young to their rotation, they would need to create room on their roster to house the veteran. And while Young himself could easily be absorbed into the team’s Evan Fournier TPE, their roster is currently at max capacity.

So, the Celtics would either need to send a player back to San Antonio, make a secondary trade, or cut somebody from the roster and absorb the dead cap space.

Furthermore, Spotrac has Young listed as earning $14 million this year, which would certainly put the team into the luxury tax – something the franchise has been working to avoid all off-season. Add in the fact that Young is in the final year of his deal, and the possibility of Brad Stevens pulling the trigger on any trade becomes minimal.

Boston won’t want to give up any assets to acquire Young due to his age and flight risk during the summer. And as they don’t currently project as contenders this year, the move would likely be a rental for the remainder of the regular season, and however far the team gets in the playoffs.

Finally, Young wouldn’t find many additional minutes on the Celtics roster compared to what he’s earning in San Antonio. Sure, the former Chicago Bulls forward would be an upgrade over Parker and Hernangomez, but Williams’ role off the bench looks to be set in stone.

Young’s name is likely floated on the trade market later in the season as we get closer to the trade deadline, but the likelihood of the Celtics entering the sweepstakes seems negligible.


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